EBRP Median Income Up, So is Poverty

The median income of East Baton Rouge Parish residents went up in 2013 from 2012, but a growing number of residents — about one in five — remained in poverty, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

East Baton Rouge Parish residents’ median household income was $62,498 in 2013, up slightly from $62,223 in 2012 — but down from 2010 when it was $63,957. Meanwhile, the percentage of families in poverty has also increased to 14.3 percent in 2013 from 14 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2010.

The survey showed 28 percent of families in East Baton Rouge Parish with incomes below the poverty line had children under age 5.

Parish residents’ median income per capita increased by more than $1,700 in 2013, to $28,971. Twenty-one percent of residents’ income per capita was below the poverty line, up from 17 percent in 2010.

The latest parish data, part of the census bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey released Thursday (Sept. 18), falls in line with Louisiana’s status as one of the most unequal states in the country. The state’s median household income in 2013 was $55,871.

The survey also reveals Louisiana had the third-highest income inequality measurement among the 50 states in 2013, and the fifth highest when including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut were the other states in the top five, respectively, regarding income inequality.

In 2012, Louisiana had the 6th highest rate of inequality. Mississippi was the other state that had a higher measurement of income inequality than Louisiana in 2012, in addition to the others states in the 2013 top five.

Louisiana’s median household income in 2013 was $55,871, up just slightly from the year before. Orleans Parish’s median household income was $48,552, also up slightly from the year before. Twenty percent of Louisiana residents had incomes below the poverty line in 2013, and 27 percent of Orleans Parish residents lived in poverty. Poverty levels increased in 2013 from 2010 across the board: in East Baton Rouge Parish, Orleans Parish and in Louisiana.

The biggest chuck — about 16 percent — of East Baton Rouge Parish residents in 2013 reported making between $50,000 and $74,999; 15 percent earned between $35,000 and $49,999; and 12 percent earned between $100,000 and $149,999.

About 18 percent of parish residents in 2013 used food stamps or SNAP benefits; 7 percent received supplemental security income, such as disability; and 1 percent of residents received cash assistance, such as welfare.

More than a quarter — 26 percent — of East Baton Rouge Parish residents in 2013 worked in education, heath care or social assistance, which the survey lumped in one category. Retail ranked second-most-popular occupation in the parish, with 12 percent of residents working in the field.

The survey also says 18 percent of East Baton Rouge Parish residents are government workers.

Work commute data

In a metro marked by traffic woes, the average commute-to-work time for East Baton Rouge Parish’s residents was 24 minutes, up from 23 minutes in 2010. In the city of Baton Rouge, the average commute was 22.4 minutes, up from 19.8 minutes in 2010.

In Orleans Parish, it took residents in 2013 an average of 23 minutes to get to work, the same number of minutes it took residents in 2010.

It took the biggest chunk — 22 percent – of East Baton Rouge Parish residents 20-24 minutes to get to work. Seventeen percent of residents took 15-19 minutes to get to work; and 15 percent took 30-34 minutes to get to work.

The ACS is a nationwide survey taken each year, which surveys a sample of about 3.5 million households to provide information about demographic, social, cultural, economic and housing trends.